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HSS Tool Bits Questions

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Long Roof

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#1
I recently purchased a box of 3/8" tool bits and have a few questions.
Some have ground surfaces, others not ground. What is the difference? I assume the ground cost a little more to manufacture.
Rex and Vasco are brand names aren't they?
What about AL-LMW, what does that designate, are they M2?
Curious about the BS script. Would that be Brown & Sharpe?

By the way, I have Mikey to thank or blame for this. After reading his very detailed posts on tool bit grinding I am all in. Thanks Mikey.
 

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T Bredehoft

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#2
I began my career in tool making in the Automotive industry in 1972. I retired in 2000. In that time I was trained in the use of lathe cutting tools. I was taught about cemented carbide, (not much use) inserted carbide, (really great for lots of work,) and HSS. During my apprenticeship I was taught how to sharpen HSS tooling, but no emphasis was put on "use this kind for this work" it was all about the same. I currently have perhaps 30 HSS lathe tools in my assembly, maybe 50, I've not counted, but I make no effort to distinguish among brands or types. I use up to 3/8 for cutting, larger pieces get used for spacers where necessary. or paper weights, or shims.
I don't believe in the Hobby industry there's a need for distinguishing among them.
 

Technical Ted

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#3
I think the best way to learn about them is to do a web search and do some research. That's what I do when I want to compare different grades.

Anyways, I pretty much agree with Tom. I would though save my higher quality bits for tools I make that I want to hold an edge longer. For example, if I wanted to make a threading tool I might use a tool bit with cobalt in it because under normal operating conditions it will hold an edge longer than ordinary M1 or M2 and wouldn't require as frequent sharpening. My experience with HSS with an AL after it is limited to some Chinese end mils I bought from eBay and they definitely don't hold an edge as well as other HSS end mills I have. I need to run them slower to last.

Ted
 

Sheather

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#4
Here is a site I have found useful when I am curious about HSS grades:
http://www.varcoprecision.com/tools.html

According to that site, the AL-LMW is M-1, made by Allegheny Ludlum.
The Cyclops Motung is M-1.

As far as properties go, I've had good luck searching for information on the AISI grade once you know it, instead of the individual manufacturer's name for it. (That is: search for M-1 instead of Motung and you will probably find more info.)

Edit: Corrected the grade for Motung (I read the table wrong.)
 
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mikey

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#6
I recently purchased a box of 3/8" tool bits and have a few questions.
Some have ground surfaces, others not ground. What is the difference? I assume the ground cost a little more to manufacture.
Rex and Vasco are brand names aren't they?
What about AL-LMW, what does that designate, are they M2?
Curious about the BS script. Would that be Brown & Sharpe?

By the way, I have Mikey to thank or blame for this. After reading his very detailed posts on tool bit grinding I am all in. Thanks Mikey.
Thank you for the kudos, Long Roof. Hope the info helps you.
  • The surface finish is not important other than how accurately the tool can be held in the holder and that isn't really an issue. A ground surface is more expensive to produce and their prices reflected that so a milled surface was cheaper, that's all.
  • Crucible produced the Rex brand of bits, Teledyne produced Vasco. The brand does not reflect the grade of HSS but they usually put an additional letter(s) to tell you what it is. For example, Rex AAA is a 5% HSS cobalt bit. The guys have given you good references to sort this out.
  • Not sure about AL-LMW but if it is M1 then it is the first of the HSS to be commercially viable. It is much the same as an M2 bit in use. I have some DoAll T1 bits that are similar and they work fine for general work.
  • Not sure about the B& thing. If it is HSS, it is probably M1 or M2.
In general, they are all about the same other than cobalt content. All the Rex and Vasco bits in your pics are M2 made by reputable makers. Not sure about the others but I bet they'll work fine for you. I highly recommend you practice on mild steel keystock until you get the hang of moving your hands around on your grinder, then use cheap Chinese bits until you are confident in your ability to grind what you need. Then you can grind one of your good bits for a keeper. Well, that's what I would do anyway.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 
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